Update 2.30 Mon 13/4/20
Consumer Affairs Victoria have reversed their position and one on one inspections for occupied properties are now permitted again. The rules relating to inspections have been spelt out and basically reflect the position taken by agents prior to this extraordinary and unnecassary intervention. Commonsense has prevailed.
In what amounts to an indefensible over-reach, just on close of business on Good Friday Eve, the Victorian Government notified the Real Institute of Victoria that no inspections can take place in occupied or tenanted properties. And with that announcement, the real estate industry is effectively shut down. Oh sure, you can still buy or lease a property, but you can’t inspect it. Of course, you can undertake a virtual inspection; how many would be comfortable to buy their next property without ever having seen it? And you can still inspect any empty property (vacant, not just with the occupant having gone for a walk).
We can still go to Bunnings, shop and even sit with a hairdresser for an hour or two; but we can’t walk through a home, one at a time, spending typically up to a minute in any one room. Those wanting or needing to sell now, can’t. And why? Nobody seems to know. The REIV President had barely pressed send on an email, updating agents on what they needed to do to ensure protection to all parties and to remain compliant with the regulations, when the Government email advice arrived. So, a correction had to be issued late Thursday evening.
We have seen many other examples of over-reach in recent days, with people being fined for driving on “L” plates, or washing their car. But these have been as a result of overzealous individuals. This edict is straight from the responsible Minister’s office. The industry is in complete shock; disbelief would be a better description.
This has come at a time where the battle to subdue the numbers of Covid-19 appears to be being won. There is no reason to relax yet, as this will be an ongoing war for many months. And yet at the very time when the experts are moving their attention to managing the recovery, an industry is flattened. There has been restlessness from a broad range of politicians this week about the seeming lack of logic to some of the restrictions imposed by the Andrews Government. Warnings have been issued about keeping the public onside. Excellent cooperation and compliance (with rare exception) have facilitated a world class suppression of CV-19 infection. Should the public feel that this is extended too long or that civil liberties are curbed without reasonable justification, this support will quickly disappear. Let’s hope reason will quickly return.